Effective December 23, 2022, the Spanish government has introduced a new visa category to allow so-called “digital nomads” to work in Spain for companies located abroad. Part of a larger “Startups Law” aimed at encouraging an entrepreneurial business environment, the new visa category will enable foreign nationals to live and work in the country without obtaining sponsorship from a Spanish employer. With the introduction of the new visa category, Spain joins several other countries – including Italy, Romania, Iceland, and the United Arab Emirates – in seeking to attract an increasingly mobile class of global talent through digital nomad visas.

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Following the end of the “Zero COVID” policy and a wave of new infections in the People’s Republic of China (PRC), several countries have implemented new COVID-related restrictions on travelers from the PRC mainland, Hong Kong, and Macau. Thus far, these restrictions mainly consist of pre-departure testing requirements, but they represent a departure from the previous global trend, which saw most countries relax or eliminate all COVID-related entry requirements.

*This post was updated with additional information on January 9 and 10, 2023.

Continue Reading More Countries Institute COVID Requirements for Travelers from China

Effective January 5, 2023, the United States will require nearly all air travelers from the People’s Republic of China (PRC), Hong Kong, and Macau to present a negative COVID test or documentation of recovery before boarding their departing flight, according to a press release from the Centers for Disease Control & Prevention (CDC). The test must be taken within two days of departure. The new precaution applies regardless of the traveler’s nationality, and only individuals under age two are exempt. The move represents the first new COVID-related travel restriction imposed by the United States since the rollback of pre-travel testing requirements earlier this year. The United States joins a growing number of countries that are considering COVID-related precautions for travelers from China following the abrupt end of the PRC  government’s “Zero COVID” strategy.

Continue Reading United States Imposes COVID Testing Requirements on Travelers from China

As 2022 draws to a close, the New Zealand government has announced a variety of immigration updates that affect foreign nationals’ work authorization and employers’ accreditation status. These updates include a new online application process for the Skilled Migrant Category (SMC), simplifications in the variation process for holders of Accredited Employer Work Visas (AEWVs) and Essential Skills Work Visas (ESWVs), automatic extensions for certain employer accreditations, and streamlined processes to enable Critical Purpose Visitor Visa holders to obtain Specific Purpose visas while staying in their current role.

Continue Reading New Zealand Implements Notable Immigration Updates

Effective December 7, 2022, the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia has acceded to the Convention Abolishing the Requirements of Legalization for Foreign Public Documents, popularly known as the “Apostille Convention.” The move is part of the Saudi government’s ongoing efforts to promote the flexibility of the private sector and make it easier for foreign companies to do business in the country. Specifically, in accordance with Royal Decree M/40 dated 26/05/1443H (corresponding to 30/12/2021G), the country’s prior legalization requirements for foreign-issued public documents have been eliminated. With this decree, Saudi Arabia becomes the 122nd member of the Apostille Convention, joining other Middle East and North African countries including Bahrain, Oman, Morocco, and Tunisia.

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On December 8, 2022, the Council of the European Union voted unanimously to accept Croatia’s bid for admission to the Schengen Area. The decision means that as of January 1, 2023, all internal land and sea border controls between Croatia and neighboring Schengen states will be lifted. Checks at internal air borders will be lifted starting March 26, 2023. Croatia will also begin issuing Schengen visas beginning January 1, 2023, and will make full use of the Schengen Information System. Croatia’s addition to the Schengen Area is one of a series of recent developments in the country’s increasing integration with the European and international communities. These developments include Croatia’s adoption of the euro, addition to the U.S. Visa Waiver Program, and grant of free movement in Switzerland.

Continue Reading Schengen Area Adds Croatia to Free Movement Zone

The Australian government is in the early stages of examining major changes to the country’s immigration system. According to statements by Home Affairs Minister Clare O’Neil, the government has engaged a team of experts to conduct a comprehensive review designed to ensure the country’s immigration system “serves Australia’s national interests and complements the skills and capabilities of Australian workers.” While details on the scope of the report are still forthcoming, it is expected to focus on strategies for ensuring skilled labor for businesses, enhancing worker productivity, and navigating issues associated with an aging workforce. The experts’ report is expected to be delivered to the government by the end of February 2023.  

Continue Reading Australia Considers Major Immigration Updates

The Indonesian government has announced a mandatory annual reporting deadline for employers of foreign workers. According to the announcement, employers must provide Indonesia’s Ministry of Manpower with an annual manpower report no later than January 10, 2023. Submission of the annual report has been required since 2018, but the precise due date is announced each year. Failure to submit the report by the stated deadline may result in fines or other sanctions against the employer.

Continue Reading Indonesia Announces Mandatory Reporting Deadline for Foreign Nationals

Updated December 22, 2022: Effective December 20, 2022, the Indian government has resumed issuing e-Visas to Canadian nationals. Canadian nationals who wish to travel to India for tourism, business, medical, or conference reasons may once again apply for e-Visas online. The move follows the Indian government’s resumption of e-Visa services for UK nationals earlier this month, as explained in our original update below. 

Continue Reading India Resumes Issuing e-Visas for UK & Canadian Nationals

On December 2, 2022, the Canadian government announced a two-year expansion of work authorization to spouses and working-age children of temporary foreign workers at all skill levels. According to the announcement, the short-term measure is designed to address gaps in Canada’s labor market amid the country’s economic recovery from the COVID-19 pandemic. Prior to the announcement, the only family members eligible for work authorization were spouses of temporary workers in high-skill occupations. The government’s move is expected to extend work authorization to as many as 200,000 noncitizens beginning in January 2023.

Continue Reading Canada Extends Work Authorization to Families of Temporary Foreign Workers